The Spectacular Gifts Have Arrived

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What a blast!  Opening a box including books with my name on the cover!  This time last year I would have called you crazy if you had said this would happen in 2017 but it did!

 

 

I am truly humbled by this whole experience.  God has certainly taken the wheel on this journey because I never saw any of this coming.  I picked the books up on Monday and by Wednesday I had booked two book signings — one as the first author to do a book signing at a new, local bookstore in my neighborhood.  Listen, I am a sales professional so I can assure you nothing ever happens this easily or quickly.  Someone else is at work here.

Also, I did not pay a penny for these books.  The money to cover the self-publishing costs was supplied to me in a spectacular way.  Back at Easter I was trying to decide IF I was going to have the book published and, IF I did, how I was going to pay the substantial cost.  I prayed about it and came up with the idea that if I could, with the Lord’s favor, sell a few more insurance policies then I could fund the publishing that way.  But, that wasn’t good enough for God.  He impressed upon me during my morning quiet time that these books are to be a gift, like Jesus was a gift.  “Let me do something spectacular!” was the message I heard.  You see, I am something of a control freak.  I had already figured out in my head how I could WORK to pay for these books.  God had other plans.

The husband and I were in East Tennessee visiting our daughter and family for my May birthday.  While there, my brother-in-law handed me a check for a large sum of money.  He laughed and said it was for my birthday but I knew that the money was an installment payment from the sale of some jointly owned property.  I played along and put the check in my purse.  I even kidded with my husband about what I was going to buy for my birthday with MY big check.

The next Sunday, after missing church due to my trip to East Tennessee, a young woman came up to me with a thick envelope.  “This is for you.”  She said someone she didn’t know gave it to her to give to me but I hadn’t been there.  I slit it open and found a wad of $20 bills.  I was speechless (which is rare).  The note inside said it was for my books.

I was excited about the “spectacular” gift but it also made me feel a little sick at my stomach.  Where did this money come from?  Maybe that person needed the money more than I did.  Turns out I am a better gift giver than gift receiver.  Finally, I had to gratefully receive the gift and put it to good use.

So, OK, now I needed to get the rest of the money in some “spectacular” way.  As I discussed how much more I needed and by when, my husband said, “You already have the rest of the money.  That check, remember?”  Oh, dear, you guys are making this hard for me.  Accepting a wad of money from an unknown person is one thing but having my husband willingly support my project in this spectacular way was extremely humbling.

Two members of my church, who knew I was waiting for “spectacular” money, work at my local bank.  When I went inside to make my deposit, we laughed and cried a little about the spectacular gifts.  Together the two gifts more than covered all the publication costs of the book.

These spectacular gifts of love and grace will enable me to share this book with lots of broken people and God’s message through scripture will help them find some purpose from their brokenness.  I will sell lots of books and that will cover the cost of the next printing. But I will also be able to give some away because they were all spectacular gifts!

 

 

 

Finding purpose from brokenness

So, I have alwDSC_0028ays wanted to write a book. Hasn’t everyone? It has been said that 80% of Americans have the desire to write a book. That’s 200 million people! Well, I finally did it!

I have been writing in some form since I was about 13. I won’t tell you how many years ago that was but some of you can do the math. For the past three years or so, I have been writing weekly study material for my church that is used by various small groups in our local congregation. This study material accompanies the weekly sermon. Last December, my pastor emailed me to ask if it would be possible for me to write a daily devotional type study to accompany his new 12-week series on the topic of broken which was starting in January. It was an interesting idea so I said, “Sure, let me see what I can do.” Over the next two weeks, I wrote twenty daily devotionals with Bible references and study questions. January’s four weeks were printed in the church office and was available for distribution to the congregation on Sunday, January 1. We were off and running!

What pastor didn’t know was that I had just lost about 75% of my self-employed income due to changes in the insurance market. I had plenty of time to write. With January finished, I went straight to work on February and March. As I dug deep into the topic of brokenness, I began to realize that it was just what I needed to minister to the brokenness that I was feeling. All my hard work and dreams for the future had been broken. I was scrambling to recover. My spirit needed healing and digging into God’s word was just what I needed to mend my brokenness.

I was really sad when my writing assignment ended. Then it occurred to me that in two months I had accomplished a lifelong dream — I had written a book. Friends and family started asking how they could get a copy of my Bible study. I checked into printing it at the local office supply — it was too thick and way too expensive. So, after much prayer and discussion, I called my writing guild friend who is a self-publisher to get it printed professionally like a real book. Well, my first book, BROKEN: Finding purpose from brokenness, is well underway and should be available the first of July.  Exciting!

And, yes, I have another project underway. When you get into a habit of writing every day, you miss it so I had to start on book number two!